Matt Bush may go down as the worst prospect in San Diego Padres history. Let’s revisit that draft and how things took a turn for the worse, shall we?
The San Diego Padres sure seem to like their failed shortstop prospects turned pitchers, don’t they? Drafted first overall in the 2004 MLB Draft, Matt Bush was reportedly the team’s third-choice but opted to take him anyways. Shortly after the draft, Bush was suspended for his role in a bar fight in Arizona, where he allegedly bit one of the bouncers.
He batted just .192 in 29 games of Rookie ball to close out his 2004 season. Despite the struggles, he was promoted to Single-A Fort Wayne in 2005, slashing .221/.279/.276 with two home runs and 32 RBI in 126 games.
That trend continued through promotions up to High-A Lake Elsinore, and he was converted to a pitcher in 2007. Bush’s fastball touched 98 mph and posted a 1.17 ERA in 7.2 innings of relief in his first action as a pitcher. Things took a turn for the worse when Bush tore a ligament in his elbow and required Tommy John surgery.
That would conclude his stint with the Padres as he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2009 season. However, he didn’t last long in Toronto after reportedly throwing a baseball at a woman’s head at a party and was released the next day.
The Rays added him on a minor league deal in 2010, posting a 3.29 ERA in 13.2 innings across two levels of Tampa’s minor league outfits. Off the field issues aside, Bush displayed tremendous command of his pitches, striking out 20 batters while walking just three. The following year, he struggled in 36 appearances for Double-A Montgomery, posting a 4.83 ERA in 50.1 innings.
He was released after the 2012 season following his incident running over a 72-year-old man while intoxicated. Shortly after his release from prison, he resurfaced with the Texas Rangers in 2015. Bush would make his major league debut in 2016, finding a home in the Rangers bullpen over the next three years.
Between 2016 and 2018, Bush posted a 3.35 ERA in 136 appearances, with 138 strikeouts in 137.0 innings.
Bush will likely go down as the worst draft pick for the Padres, especially when a guy named Justin Verlander was taken second overall in that draft with Jered Weaver and Stephen Drew going 12th and 15th overall, respectively.